Tanvi Misra

Trump suggests Chad Wolf is his pick for next DHS chief
But DHS spokesperson says Kevin McAleenan is still acting secretary

President Donald Trump indicated Friday he would name Chad Wolf as the next acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, ending nearly a month of uncertainty over who would fill the job once outgoing acting chief, Kevin McAleenan, steps down.

“He is right now acting and we’ll see what happens,” Trump told reporters when asked if Wolf would be the next DHS chief. “We have great people in there.”

DOJ changed hiring to promote restrictive immigration judges
New practice permanently placed judges on powerful appellate board, documents show

The Department of Justice has quietly changed hiring procedures to permanently place immigration judges repeatedly accused of bias to a powerful appellate board, adding to growing worries about the politicization of the immigration court system.

Documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests describe how an already opaque hiring procedure was tweaked for the six newest hires to the 21-member Board of Immigration Appeals. All six board members, added in August, were immigration judges with some of the highest asylum denial rates. Some also had the highest number of decisions in 2017 that the same appellate body sent back to them for reconsideration. All six members were immediately appointed to the board without a yearslong probationary period.

More non-Spanish speaking migrants are crossing the border
The crisis at the southern border is becoming a global one, officials say

EL PASO, Texas — When a 6-year-old Indian migrant girl named Gurupreet Kaur was found dead in the Arizona desert by Border Patrol agents in June, the tragedy surprised many — mostly because of where the girl was from.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center.]

DHS advances plan to get DNA samples from immigrant detainees
Immigration advocates worry about long-term privacy implications of proposal

Immigration advocates sounded alarm over the Department of Homeland Security’s new proposed rule to collect DNA samples from migrants in government custody, expressing grave concern over long-term privacy implications.

“The government doesn’t have a very good track record of collecting and protecting the genetic material of marginalized populations, including foreign nationals and black and brown people,” Andrew Free, a Nashville-based immigration and civil rights lawyer, told CQ Roll Call. “In the absence of a limiting principle, I just really worry about the abuses.”

White House plans to cut refugee admittance to all-time low

The Trump administration announced on Thursday plans to slash its refugee admittance program by almost half next year, the lowest cap since the refugee system was created in 1980.

The White House said it would admit no more than 18,000 refugees for the next fiscal year, a drop from its current limit of 30,000 and a plunge from the 110,000 admitted in 2016 under President Barack Obama’s final year in office.

Emails show how private firms profit from ICE detention centers
Documents provide rare glimpse into dealings between private detention companies and government officials

On Feb. 6, 2019, Jill Grant, chief financial officer of Immigration Centers of America, emailed the town treasurer of Farmville, Virginia, where her company operates an immigrant detention center.

“I’m feeling lucky today so I wanted to check on our funds. Has anything shown up?” she wrote.

Trump’s family separation policy amplified children’s trauma
Report: Zero tolerance policy ‘added to the trauma that children had already experienced’

Through its “zero tolerance policy” at the southwest border during 2018, which led to separation of migrant children from their parents, the Trump administration “added to the trauma that children had already experienced and put tremendous pressure on facility staff,” according to a report Wednesday by a government watchdog.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General visited 45 of about 90 facilities holding migrant children in August and September of 2018 and conducted interviews with operators, medical coordinators, mental health clinicians and other staff. In the resulting report, these officials and practitioners described significant challenges in meeting the mental health needs of children in their care, who had been traumatized long before coming to the United States, then were re-traumatized by policies at the border and further aggravated by being kept in government custody for long periods of time.

Friction over diverted disaster aid ahead of Hurricane Dorian
CQ Budget, Episode 125

Even though Congress is still in a prolonged summer recess, spending battles between the White House and Congress have only been multiplying. The Trump administration plans to divert money from disaster relief and other programs to fund more immigration detention beds and some immigration court facilities - and a lot of senior appropriators aren’t happy about it....
Trump wants to reprogram DHS money for ICE detention operations
This is the fourth consecutive fiscal year in which DHS has diverted money for immigrant enforcement

Trump wants to lift restrictions on how long it can hold migrant families
Pelosi accuses White House of ‘seeking to codify child abuse’

The Trump administration is moving to end a court settlement that limits its ability to hold migrants who cross the border into the United States, the Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday, potentially allowing for indefinite detention of children with their parents.

President Donald Trump and his administration for years have chafed at the limitations resulting from the settlement, known as the Flores agreement. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said Wednesday the new policy would get rid of an interpretation of Flores that has “substantially caused and continued to fuel” a migrant crisis at the southern border.

New ‘public charge’ rule could affect millions of immigrants
The DHS rule gives officers new authority to deny citizenship, or other status based on past or future use of public benefits

A new Department of Homeland Security rule unveiled Monday seeks to do what pro-immigration advocates have long dreaded by giving U.S. immigration officers broad authority to deny applicants citizenship, green cards, visa extensions and changes in immigration status based on past or potential future use of public benefits.

The change covers people who may have used a wide range of benefits in the past such as food stamps, Medicaid and housing assistance, even if they were eligible for them. Furthermore, the government under the new rule can reject people if immigration officers deem it likely they could become reliant on such public assistance in the future.

Senate panel advances asylum bill over Democratic objections
‘This is supposed to be the Senate Judiciary Committee — not the Donald Trump committee,’ Leahy says

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved, 12-10, Sen. Lindsey Graham’s asylum overhaul bill that aims to stanch the flow of migrants to the southwest border.

But the vote came amid loud protests from Democrats that the legislation was hastily pushed through. Democrats said Graham, the committee chairman, broke from longstanding committee procedures in scheduling a markup for Thursday and not allowing any Democratic amendments.

Homestead: On the front lines of the migrant children debate

The immigration debate in southern Florida is not like those of any of the other detention centers around the U.S. Homestead sits on 55-acres of land sandwiched between buildings abandoned due to hurricane damage and the Homestead Air Reserve Base. The ground is a mix of gravel and grass and locals say heavy rains hit every afternoon.

Inside Homestead: A tour of the Florida camp for migrant children
The shelter has become a site of ‘resistance’ in recent months — a magnet for protesters and politicians alike

EDITOR’S NOTE: Staff writer Tanvi Misra and visual journalist Jinitzail Hernández visited the privately run shelter for migrant children held by the U.S. government in Homestead, Florida, on July 8-9. Hernández was not given permission to shoot video or photos inside the facility, and she and Misra were escorted at all times by Caliburn International staff. This is their report.

 

I.C.E, C.B.P. and O.R.R. What's the difference, explained

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection and the Office of Refugee Resettlement have been at the epicenter of the border debate and reports of grisly conditions continue to surface.

Trump administration to expand ‘fast-track’ deportations, strengthen ICE
Migration Policy Institute estimates that total number of immigrants subject to expedited removal could reach 300,000

The Trump administration is planning to dramatically expand “fast-track” deportations, making hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. vulnerable to removal without going through immigration court proceedings.

“The effect of that change will be to enhance national security and public safety — while reducing government costs — by facilitating prompt immigration determinations,” reads the new notice to be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday. It “will enable [the Department of Homeland Security] to address more effectively and efficiently the large volume of aliens who are present in the United States unlawfully.”

Senators roll out pilot program to speed asylum claims
Plan would streamline process for migrant families who have legitimate claims

A group of nine senators — six Republicans and three Democrats — is proposing a new pilot program to better manage the influx of families seeking asylum at the southwest border.

“Operation Safe Return,” as the group calls it, would be the first bipartisan step to address the situation at the border, the senators said in a letter Thursday to Trump administration officials. Their plan would streamline the process by which migrant families who have legitimate claims for asylum are processed at the border, and swiftly weed out those who do not.

Immigrant raids could lead to more family separations
CQ on Congress, Episode 161

The Trump administration says it will round up undocumented immigrants who have missed a court date in an effort to deter others migrants from seeking refuge in the United States. But raids could exacerbate family separations, report CQ Roll Call’s Tanvi Misra and Jinitzail Hernandez, who just returned from visiting one of the largest migrant detention centers in Homestead, Fla., where the government is holding 2,000 teenage immigrants.

DHS watchdog details dangerous conditions for migrants at border centers
Report finds most detainees being held for longer than allowed limit

Migrants “banged on cell windows, shouted, pressed notes to the window,” desperately trying to signal to inspectors how long they’d been detained at Customs and Border Protection facilities. At one processing center, a senior manager called the situation a “ticking time bomb.”

Full of shocking photographs, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General report published Tuesday details dangerously overcrowded and unhygienic conditions at five processing centers in Texas where CBP detained migrants, including thousands of young children, for long periods of time.

Democrats decry harsh conditions after border facility tours
“What we saw was appalling and disgusting,” Rep. Judy Chu says

A visit by House Democrats to Customs and Border Protection facilities at the U.S. southern border grew heated Monday as lawmakers reported harsh conditions and tight restraints on what they were allowed to view and document.

“They tried to restrict what we saw, take our phones, block photos and video,” Massachusetts Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III tweeted. “Atmosphere was contentious and uncooperative.”